There is no special name for the Wednesday before Mardi Gras. Well except Mercredi, which isn't special; it's just French.
Soulard was already swinging harder than usual, and even if it's not the Wednesday before Mardi Gras, this was probably the least likely neighborhood in which to find a dive. Plenty of bars that might be considered dives if they weren't teeming with people from all over the metro area.
But go far enough down Geyer, past the full parking lots, just before the streets dead-end, and you'll find Spooty's.
None of the de rigueur purple, gold and green regalia, just a large "For Sale" sign on the patio's fence and a few neon beer signs. Enough human activity was visible through the window to imply they were open.
Inside it turned out to be just the couple who owns the place and what has to be the most exhausted man in Soulard: the neighborhood beer distributor, winding down after a post-snow day spent playing catch-up on orders for the biggest party weekend of the year.
He's a nice guy, even though he'll be glad when it's Wednesday, February 17. Who can blame him?
He joked with the owners while telling them what they'll probably need for Saturday: Coors Light, because they're hosting the wedding reception for the 30 couples who'll be getting hitched by Cornbread on a float as the parade begins. He also suggested that they might want to remove the issues of Playboy from the window ledges.
There followed banter about the St. Louis restaurant scene -- gossip about openings, closings and shenanigans. The things bar owners and beer guys know.
It's a lovely bar. The small live-music area sports a mural of Stevie Ray, Muddy and Bo. But tonight no one's playing. Just the four of us.
The owners don't seem too concerned. They want to use the 32-ounce cups they overbought, sell the hot dogs left in the freezer from last summer's eating contest and move to Cancún. They're buying a duplex, living on one side and renting the other. The beer distributor wrote his information in a book they're keeping of St. Louis people who want to patronize their next business venture, someplace where people don't pee on the streets in sub-freezing temperatures.
Spooty's Blues Bar & Patio 1026 Geyer Avenue 314-588-1807